The Story Lab Week: Content is King?


We’ve all heard, ‘content is king,’ but what does that really mean? Lucky for us The Story Lab hosted an event to give a deep insight into what makes content the key to brands success. The Story Lab, part of Dentsu Aegis Network, produce, distribute and invest in premium entertainment content, specialising in content strategy, integrations, original storytelling, content distribution and product development. For one week The Story Lab introduced a week of guest speakers to talk to us about their most successful commercial partnerships featuring great content.

The event kicked off with the team introducing the week they had planned for us. Full of creativity, exclusive insights and interactive content, it was clear this was an event not to be missed. Guest speakers included: ITV, Channel 4, Lad Bible, Sky Media, The Social Chain and Global. These media owners champion within brand partnerships. ITV’s Love Island has certainly been the talk of the town with the latest sponsorships from Superdrug, I Saw It First, and VO5.

Claire Heys, brand partnerships and content director at ITV, shared the creative ideas process behind this year’s most watched TVs sponsorships. The session highlighted how to build those award-winning ideas to build epic campaign ideas, which included key techniques into introducing content. Claire revealed the process on how the sponsored products made their way into the show and how the brand stayed prominent throughout the program.

Channel 4 gave us great insight to the sponsorship of one of the nation’s favourite shows: The Great British Bake Off. Amazon was partnered with the hit TV show this year featuring its popular smart home Amazon Alexa. Global’s presentation also focussed on voice activated search and how this is vastly gaining popularity since they launched. There are now many fun ways to engage with your home help device and with many different actions the user can engage with. This type of interactive content gives the user a wider sense of purpose to use this method of browsing making it more fun to use.

The Story Lab’s very own Robbie Ashcroft, Entertainment development partner, showed us how important it is to develop premium quality TV entertainment and how this can inject character into brand sponsorships. Robbie exposed the genius in unscripted TV content  - amazing TV moments that are so perfect they can’t be written. Looking at the return of hit game show Supermarket Sweep – a show simply about a relatable task with a humorous twist now has the perfect partnership with Tesco. Tesco have an amazing opportunity not only to get airtime for an hour at prime time every weekday but the opportunity to turn and engage with the culture of the audience.

After a full week of all things content the event closed with drinks with the Story Lab Team. This was my chance to chat to them about their favourite projects, key findings and future insights that were discussed in the week. The fundamental learning that I undertook from the event was that it’s not enough for brands just to be seen, they need to start a conversation. Content needs to be at the heart of the marketing strategy.

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